Sunday, August 31, 2014

REJOICE BECAUSE GOD BRINGS PEACE: SCS No. 17


(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 

Scripture Lesson for Today: Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Sermonette for Today:

Whether I am preparing a full sermon or one of these sermonettes for this blog, I usually start by simply reading in my Bible until a verse or verses jump off the page at me.  I consider this to be the Holy Spirit guiding me.  Don’t tell me there isn’t a Holy Spirit working in the world today and ruin my Sunday morning.  If I am going to preach the sermon rather than just put it up on this blog as a Sermonette, I just make a brief outline instead of writing it out so the Holy Spirit still has a chance to move as I preach the sermon.  My point is that too many of us today don’t believe that the power we read about in the Bible is still alive and moving among people today.  The promises in our Scripture lesson for today are as valid this morning as they were when Paul wrote them to the Philippians.

We should be rejoicing if we have a relationship with the Savior and the Holy Spirit indwelling in our souls.  A peace will take over your heart and mind that is beyond human understanding because it comes from a power we cannot fully comprehend.  The thing to remember is that one does not have to understand or prove the existence of God in order to reap the rewards of believing in the promises of God.

Paul says we do not have to be full of anxiety, but to live in moderation and think on the things that are pure, just and virtuous.  Paul says if we do that “the God of peace shall be with you.”

In an age when many people take a pill for every little worry, this scripture is saying that if we put our lives in order then God will bring a peace to us that is so great that we can do nothing but rejoice and be filled with wonder.  It is our lack of belief that God will take care of us that prevents us from receiving His gift of a peaceful soul.  Maybe trying the path to peace would be worth the effort.  It just might be true.  God might be as powerful today as He was during Bible times.  The Bible might just be true.  I know the Biblical promises are true because each time I surrender myself totally to Him and stop trying to run everything myself a tranquility comes over my entire being.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  

Prayer for Today:

Father, as wars rage around the world between tribes and families fight among themselves; may the nearness of your Son begin to heal some of these wounds and bring peace to a broken world which is why You sent Your Son in Whose name we pray.  Amen.



© Ed Cooper, August 31, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved





Thursday, August 28, 2014

IN HONOR and MEMORY of EDWARD C. COOPER (May 21, 1916 - August 28, 1944)

Battle of Brittany

S. Sgt. Edward C. Cooper
The Battle for Brittany took place between August and October 1944. After breaking out of the Normandy beach head in June 1944, Brittany was targeted because of its naval bases at Lorient, St. Nazaire and Brest. My father Lester John Cooper’s brother Edward was killed shortly after that battle began.  At the request of his wife, his body was not returned.  To my knowledge the only family member to visit his grave in St. James, France at the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial is my cousin Carolyn and her husband Hank.  I have sent flowers over the years, but it gave me great comfort to know a family member had actually laid eyes on his grave. I am named after Edward C. Cooper.  I am proud to have his name.  He had a safe job in Washington, DC when he volunteered to go into the military.  A man of courage whom I never met, but who I feel like I know.

© Ed Cooper, August 28, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FIXING THE VETERANS’ MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, weeks after signing legislation to fix delays in veterans' healthcare, will unveil a series of executive actions on Tuesday aimed at improving access to mental health treatment for former service members. He said service members leaving the military who are being treated for mental health conditions would now be automatically enrolled in a program in which mental health professionals help them move to VA care. (Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Ken Wills)

After spending eight months on a psychiatric ward on an Army base in Augusta, GA, I was hospitalized for the first time in a Veterans Hospital in Cincinnati.  That was in 1969.  I have been receiving services ever since that hospitalization.  I have some recommendations to make that our President probably will never make.

1) Ever VA mental health service center should have a grievance/human rights/incident committee that are made up of at least 51% of people receiving mental health services from that center not just people with lived experience, 20% family members of people receiving mental health services from that center and 10% from the people working at that mental health services centers. The rest of the committee should be recruited from the community so there is at least some transparency about what goes on at the different VA mental health centers. (When I refer to VA mental health centers, I mean the outpatient and inpatient services provided at VA hospitals and their attached clinics. Some are called Mental Health Centers and in some places they are just listed as Mental Health/Behavioral Services.)  

2) It should be made clear to every person the downside of utilizing the services of the Mental Health Division of a VA hospital.  The stigma will never leave you.  Honesty here would be a good policy. Instead it is presented as being as benign as going to primary care or to eye or dental clinic.  That simply is not the truth and mental health services should have to put a black label warning on their division just like they should fully explain any psych drug they try to get a veteran to swallow.

3) Full time Advocates not employed by the VA should be readily available to any veteran that is seen at a VA Mental Health Center.  These advocates should not be lawyers, but rather have a background in investigation and some tie to the mental health field.

4) The President should write an executive order that is in accord with the United Nations standards about forced treatment and say that there will be no more forced treatment or threat of forced treatment in the VA.  If President Obama did that, we could once again trust talking honestly with our mental health providers.  


© Ed Cooper, August 26, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

WHEN I AM TOO MAD TO PRAY: SCS No. 16


(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 

Scripture Lesson for Today:
Psalm 10 (ESV)


1
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?      
2
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.  
3
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses[a] and renounces the Lord.  
4
In the pride of his face[b] the wicked does not seek him;[c]
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”  
5
His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.  
6
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”  
7
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.  
8
He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;  
9
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.  
10
The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.  
11
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”  
12
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.  
13
Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?  
14
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.  
15
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none. 
16
The Lord is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
17
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 
18
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. 


Prayer for Today:

Father, as wars rage around the world between tribes and families fight among themselves may the nearness of your Son begin to heal some of these wounds and bring peace to a broken world which is why You sent Your Son in Whose name we pray.  Amen.


Sermonette for Today: WHEN I AM TOO MAD TO PRAY

The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer's Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name. The show is centered on a family in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War II. The main story takes place in Walton's Mountain, a fictional town at the foot of a mountain in fictitious Jefferson County, Virginia.  The actual place upon which the stories are based is in Nelson County, Virginia and is the community of Schuyler.  In an episode I watched recently John Walton told his wife Olivia Walton that the reason she could not pray was because she was trying to tell God how to do things and then John says he doesn’t think things work that way. (I don’t remember the exact quotes, but this is the gist of what he told her when she said she could not pray to a God that was letting all this happen in the world.)

In the episode I watched Olivia could not come to terms with what was going on in Europe before America entered World War II.  The Psalmist is pleading with God to stop what the wicked are doing to the poor.  Many times in my life I have found it hard to understand why God did not make things just right now.

We humans are funny.  We want free will, but at the same time we want God to control the actions of every other human being other than ourselves so that things will be as we want them. Just as we see justice.

You can be sure God has a plan, but man does not have the capacity to understand the whole plan.  We have to trust God and not think we are smart enough to know what should be.

In the end there will be justice and all will know the grand plan.  Until then try to determine what God has in mind for you to do for the Kingdom. Do it and leave the planning to God.    

© Ed Cooper, August 24, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved





Thursday, August 21, 2014

NEED MORE THAN: A National Conversation About Race

The Winning Team 1966

I live in a county in Eastern Tennessee that is 96.36% white.  Before going to the mission field in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in 1960, I lived in a county in Eastern Kentucky with segregated schools, segregated neighborhoods and segregated churches.  Once in Zimbabwe, I spent my teen years in a country ruled by whites.  Even on the mission station Africans were not allowed to come to the homes of the missionaries unless they worked there or were invited. All the missionaries had servants working for them in their homes.  They were called house girls and garden boys.  None of them were girls or boys.  They were adult women and men.

Soon after I returned to my home state of Kentucky in 1966, the University of Kentucky was beaten on March 19th in the final game of the NCAA basketball tournament by what was then Texas Western with an all black starting five.  In some areas of Kentucky and indeed the whole country you would have thought the civil war had been fought and lost all over again.

The assassinations of the 1960’s brought turmoil to our streets and in our hearts.  The murder of President Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1968 and Robert Kennedy in June of that same year all played a major part in shaping the views of my generation which were then passed on down.

I am always hearing someone calling for a national conversation on race.  It is going to take more than a conversation.  I don’t know of any group that is truly inclusive of others.  I once heard of someone saying to another person, “We don’t want this country to be a melting pot. We want it to be more like a salad bowl.”

When I was living on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, and others cities, I was always amazed at how many Little Chinas or Little Havanas or Little Japans etc. there were.  People separate themselves into groups by their own free will.

You cannot bring people together with laws or by force.  You cannot make people like or trust each other.  All this talk about race just keeps pointing out there is such a thing.  How does that make it better?  Maybe to heal all the divides we need to stop talking about the divides and start talking about what we have in common.  Like the fact we are all humans.

© Ed Cooper, August 21, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THE KNOCK AT THE DOOR: A POEM



What will happen when
they come to my door
because someone said
I was too sick to stay
in my home any longer?
Will I just open the door
and let them take me away 
and put me behind locked doors,
or will I  just shoot 
through my own front  door?   
A person does not know 
what they would do 
until they arrive at the door.
My question is
why does anyone think
this is the way to help?

It will never be better
and the killing of us
while trying to take us
to get us help
will not stop 
until someone decides 
that forced treatment and locked doors
are against our human rights
and an ineffective way to help
a fellow hurting human being .


© Ed Cooper, August 19, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved

Saturday, August 16, 2014

JESUS SAID HARD THINGS: SCS No. 15


(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 

Scripture Lesson for Today: Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.


Prayer for Today:

Father, as wars rage around the world between tribes and families fight among themselves may the nearness of your Son begin to heal some of these wounds and bring peace to these broken people.  Amen.


Sermonette for Today:

Universal salvation, the idea that in the end after all is said and done God will just say all is forgiven and let everyone enjoy eternal life, may be a happy thought, but it is a thought that does not sync with the words of our Lord.  In our Scripture lesson for today Jesus makes it plain that the “gate is narrow” and the “way is hard.”  Jesus states it simply, “those who find it are few.”

Yes, John 3:16 says God loves the world.  God loves all the people of the world.  My prayer is that the Christian world would love the people of the world as much as God does.  God’s love does not mean that there will not be a just judgment for all of us.  Loving all of us means justice for all of us.  There will be justice when God decides the fate of each one of us.

I take Jesus’ words to mean we need to be vigilant in making sure we share the Gospel message with the people we know.  It is not just the responsibility of the professional pastors.  Every Christian is a messenger for the Messiah.  Help make sure the people you love are among the few that walk through the narrow gate.   


© Ed Cooper, August 17, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved


Friday, August 15, 2014

THEIR DEVIL TONGUES


They never come
in the light of day,
but always at night
so the darkness
can hide their skill
at stealing souls
of the living.

They leave you as empty
as a desert well
your mouth parched
and your soul scorched.
Not by the sun,
but by their devil tongues
and hard black hearts.

You can’t escape
their night attack.
Only when the sun
comes up in the east
will you find ease
for the mind that was
tortured all night long.

Their devil tongues
are not silent in the light,
but you will be able
to see they are
only a mind game
without a body
to walk in the Light.

© Ed Cooper, August 15, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved







Thursday, August 14, 2014

MY MOST CRITICIZED BLOG ENTRY (August 12, 2014)

A BOOK WORTH READING


I was not surprised by the reaction to my blog entry on suicide.  Opposing viewpoints are not new to me and I am not offended or crushed by them.  I did not delete a single comment made on Facebook about what I wrote.  I truly believe everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I have not changed my mind, but that does not make me right.

First, let me address the point that suicide is caused by mental illness which seems to be one theme running through the folks that felt I had maligned people who had committed suicide.  There is no hard scientific evidence that there is any such thing as what is referred to as mental illness.  There are no good studies as to why people who have completed the act did it.  We don’t know enough about either the brain or suicide to say what caused a certain person to kill themselves. The quote below addresses the state of our knowledge about the field of psychiatry.    

“Kandel, (Dr. Eric R. Kandel) who won the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine for using sea slugs to gain insight into memory storage and readily calls himself a ‘delusional optimist,’ admits that we’ve made ‘only modest improvements’ in treating the most serious psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This is a widely shared view: In reporting on Stanley’s million gift, the Times noted, ‘Despite decades of costly research, experts have learned virtually nothing about the causes of psychiatric disorders and have developed no truly novel drug treatments in more than a quarter century.’” Newsweek You can read the entire article at http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/22/when-will-mental-illness-finally-yield-science-263630.html

Secondly, I believe a person has the right to take their own life if that is what they decide to do.  I don’t believe the state owns a person’s body. Therefore; I do not believe the state has the right to force treat a person to prevent a suicide.  I do not believe in forced treatment under any circumstances.  Forced treatment is a human rights violation.  Period.

Thirdly, I agree with Jennifer Michael Hecht when she says in her book Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It ,”If suicide has a pernicious influence on others then staying alive has the oppositive influence.”  ( Introduction page 5) Staying alive can keep others alive.  She also says a person “owes something to his or her future self.”  She points out in the same introduction that she means no disrespect to anyone who has already committed suicide.  I thought I had done the same thing with my dedication of the blog entry to those who lived through.  I guess the title of the blog entry and other things made some readers think I was the devil.

So, this is my stand.  We don’t know enough about the brain or suicide to say what causes it, but we know when someone commits suicide it shatters the people who love them and may cause others who have been thinking about it to go ahead and complete the act.  I don’t believe in forced treatment under any circumstances including possible suicide.  Staying is good for the community and killing oneself is bad for it.  Disagree till your heart is content.

© Ed Cooper, August 14, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved   


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SUICIDE IS A SELISH and COWARDLY ACT


This blog entry is dedicated to all my fellow sojourners who fought through and decided to live.


People get mad at me when I say that committing suicide is a selfish and cowardly act.  They tell me that I don’t know what the person may have been going through.  It is true that I nor anyone else can really know what is going on inside someone else’s mind and heart, but I know what the aftermath of a suicide is.  I also know what it is like to fight deep depression and the desire to die to rid myself of the pain of living.  This whole arena of suicide is not a foreign land to me.

The truth is that suicide may end the pain of the one who commits it, but it is just the beginning of the pain for the people who love them.  The news over the past few months has been full of stories about celebrities committing suicide and also about the suicide rate among active duty military personnel and veterans.  The news does show the pain left behind, but I don’t think anyone with a bigger bully pulpit than mine says enough about really how selfish an act it is.

What good would that do you ask?  In my opinion, it would help prevent more suicides.  One of the main reasons I am still alive is that there are some folks in my life that I don’t want to hurt to that degree.  My wife, among others, would be left feeling empty and hurt if I just up and killed myself to relieve myself of having to go on.  So I come up with something in the future to look forward to so I don’t just dwell on my pain.  I come up with something for the next day and then something down the road.  For example, Patty and I have plans to go to a NASCAR race and to take a trip with a cousin of mine.

It takes more courage to live through a deep dark depression than to end it.  It takes thinking of more than yourself not to kill yourself when you are at your lowest point.  I think the media needs to tell this each time they present a suicide story. It would prevent more suicides and it would honor the many individuals who fought through the darkness and lived to see the morning light.

© Ed Cooper, August 12, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved     

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jesus Weeps Each Sunday: SCS No. 14


(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 

Scripture Lesson: Luke 19:41-48 
English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,
42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side
44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”
47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,
48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.


Prayer:

Father, as wars rage around the world between tribes and families fight among themselves may the nearness of your Son begin to heal some of these wounds and bring peace to these broken people.  Amen.


Sermonette:

Jesus wept when He saw Jerusalem because He knew what was ahead for the people of Jerusalem.  Jesus wept with the others over the death of Lazarus even though He had already told them He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead. (John 11:35) He ran the “robbers” out of the temple even though He knew the temple would be destroyed.

I think Jesus weeps every Sunday over the condition of the church that carries His name.  I was dedicated (not baptized) as an infant by my parents who later became missionaries to what is now Zimbabwe.  I grew up in the church.  My father was either the minister or an Elder in the church we attended.  I am an ordained minister and Elder.  My oldest sister was married to a minister before his early death from cancer.  My point is that all my life I have been involved in the inner workings of the church and mission work of the church and it is not pretty sight.

People across the country laugh at the politics in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia as being crooked and led by what some would call cult figures.  The worldwide church is led by a few famous ministers who everyone seems to hang on to their every word.  The local church is not a democracy even in churches that claim to be independent of a national organization.  The church does not belong to Jesus.  It belongs to the cult like figures who tell us what to think and to the local church barons.

I have never seen a peaceful church when you get inside its inner workings.  The politics and back biting is horrible and the minister/pastor is eaten for lunch by someone every Sunday.

Yes, Jesus weeps every Sunday for His church.  I mean the people not the buildings. (Which by the way cause lots of the fights.)  It is hard to find a peaceful church and as long as that is true you should not expect a peaceful world.



© Ed Cooper, August 10, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved

Thursday, August 07, 2014

SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH

You can find more information about it at these websites


Celebrated during the month of September, Recovery Month began in 1989 as TreatmentWorks! Month, which honored the work of the treatment and recovery professionals in the field. The observance evolved to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in 1998, when the observance expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include all aspects of behavioral health.
(From the above SAMSHA website)


I am not an addict! 

Just because I smoke cigarettes does not mean I am an addict. Just because I drove most of the length of I-40 with a cooler on the back seat of my Chevy station wagon keeping my half pints of vodka cool so I could sip on them as I drove across the country does not mean I am an addict. 

Just because I smoked a little dope when I worked in the tire retreading industry or because I dropped some acid back in the late 60’s does not make me an addict. 

I went to some meetings, but I never said I was an addict or an alcoholic.  Yeah for me!  No, it is not yeah for me.  I am one of those with a psychiatric diagnosis who never admit to their other problem.  Many of us have used to get through.  We just don’t ever ask for or get help. 

I admit mania is better than any drug or drink, but mania is not always an available option.  You can’t buy bipolar mania at a convenience store or on a street corner, but you can buy the other stuff. 

There is a debate about whether taking prescribed psychiatric drugs is any better than drinking or doing street drugs.  I don’t have a dog in that fight.  What I can tell you is that I lost the ability to connect with myself and others in any meaningful way when I was doing what I never admitted in a meeting I did.  I can also say that anytime I have been over medicated on psych drugs the same thing is true.

For me what works is no longer using any street drugs and taking the smallest amount of psych drugs that will keep me from busting through into mania.  I miss being manic, but I don’t miss the chaos it caused in my life.  My way is not everyone’s way.  Everyone must decide their own way.

© Ed Cooper, August 7, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

ONLY FOR MYSELF AND MY GROUP



Jim Wayne Miller (1936-1996) has a character in his novel His First, Best Country reply when confronted with the fact he is talking to himself again with “I have a lot to say to myself.” 

As I read that scene I was struck by the fact that the character was probably speaking for most folks I had heard or seen talking to themselves over the years.  We almost always assume they are responding to some voice they hear, but that is not really the truth.

In fact, most of us walk through life making assumptions about people we don’t know.  We judge them by the way they speak.  We decide who they are by the clothes they wear or by the cars they drive.  On Patty’s and my recent trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary we were getting into our car when a man pecked on my window and motioned for me to roll it down.  I did.  He said, “What are you doing driving your son’s car?”  I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything. Patty says he thought he was being funny, but I didn’t see anything funny about him thinking a 65 year old man should not be driving a red Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

The problem is we keep using the wrong yardstick when we look at each other.  That is why the world has so many wars spread all over the globe and ethnic and faith groups are separated in every part of our planet.

We fail to look at a person’s heart and dreams.  If we did we would find that we have much in common with most people on this planet. We all want basically the same thing. The problem is we seem to only want it for ourselves or for our own group.

Only for myself and my group is the most destructive drive we have.  This selfishness needs to be turned into selflessness.  Then and only then will the dreams of little children around the world begin to grow into reality and peace can be seen on the horizon.

© Ed Cooper, August 5, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved  






Sunday, August 03, 2014

LIVING IN THE WILL OF GOD: SCS No. 13



Stoney Creek Sermonette: No. 13

(We at Project Dream Again hope these sermonettes bring some measure of peace to your soul and maybe spark a thought you then share with someone else in your life. Stoney Creek Sermonettes are not meant to replace your participation in a faith community.) 

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 6:10

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Prayer:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)



Sermonette:

When we come before the Lord are we humble?  Do we ever pray without asking that God obey us rather than asking that we might find the humility and strength to obey the Lord God? 

If a hurricane was headed towards you, do you think you would pray for it to turn?  Living in South Florida for so many years before moving back to Appalachia, I have heard that prayer. Its meaning is that you are asking God to turn the hurricane which will make it hit other people somewhere else.

Matthew 6:10 is a powerful verse found in what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer.  “Thy kingdom come” seems like a simple enough phrase, but does it mean a kingdom in the future when time as we know it ends or does it mean now or does it mean both now and in the future?  The rest of the verse makes plain that Jesus means God’s will to be done now.  Kingdom building now is obviously the will of God.

It is hard to pray that someone else’s will be done.  It is even harder to do the will of someone else.  Jesus had worked hard during his ministry to teach His disciples, but only one of them was at the foot of the cross as He hung there dying. (The Gospel of John says there was a disciple among the women followers of Jesus there. However, the other three Gospels do not mention any disciple being there among the women, but all four Gospels mention the women being there.)  They deserted Him at the end.  Many times we desert the Lord right after asking Him to do some big thing for us.

God has the power to grant every wish, but He wishes for us to live within His will.  Only by living in the will of God will our wells be filled with the living water of eternal life and our soul never again have that empty feeling here on earth.

© Ed Cooper, August 3, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved